“United we stand, divided we fall.”
The Commonwealth of Kentucky has a motto that speaks strongly to the culture of today, a culture that is fractured with offense and anger and political diatribe. If this premise is true, our nation is sliding toward a fall.
There is something inspiring about unity. Even in the midst of dark days, unity is a shining light of hope and beauty. In the aftermath of the bombing of Pearl Harbor, there was a special unity sweeping across our nation resonating a resolve to not go quietly into the dark of military oppression. The shocking terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, were the catalysts that brought citizens and politicians together, even for a few months.
In the last days of Jesus on earth, there was division among his chosen 12. Days before Christ’s crucifixion, they were fighting among themselves over which of them would become second-in-command to the Lord. Just moments before Jesus was arrested and tortured, he paused in the garden to pray to the Father that these disciples would know the power of unity and walk together in love. His prayer extended beyond these few to include future followers that would hear and believe. Maybe Jesus is praying for us today!
What can each of us do to help our community and nation experience more unity?
— Guard our hearts from hatred every time it rears its head.
— Choose to value others every time we are tempted to dismiss those not like us.
— Listen and learn. When our lips start moving, we cease learning.
— Expect our leaders to move us toward unity whenever possible.
— Hold to the ideals that established our nation at its first Fourth of July.
Unfurl your flag, hold your head high, cry out to God, thank a first responder and love your neighbor. We are not yet done. Liberty is a precious treasure. Freedom is still worth any price.
And Jesus is praying for us.
Greg Burton is pastor at Colonial Heights Baptist Church.